Usually when the idea of a medical scribe enters into the conversation the idea most people grab hold of is an assistant of sorts, someone that works in tandem with the doctor or nurse practitioner, not actually getting involved in the treatment, but doing most of the “heavy-lifting” that comes with modern medical data collection. There are more patients than ever, they need to be treated with respect and attentiveness, and the ability to do that is far more viable when a medical practitioner can focus on the person, not a list or form that needs to be filled out on behalf of the person so that the Electronic Health Records—which are of vital importance—can be updated and ready to refer to during the course of treatment.
It’s here, during the actual moment of contact with the patient that most people see the value of the medical scribe. By taking on the role of data acquisition, the scribe frees up both time and attention during the actual treatment period, allowing doctors or nurse practitioners to spend more time understanding the patient’s needs, arriving at a diagnosis and taking whatever necessary immediate treatment steps are required. This means pa-tients receive more actual attention from the medical practitioner, and yet at the same time, especially in an emergency department situation, can be processed faster, allowing a doctor to move on to the next case, and reduce the wait times for patients in an ED setting.
However, according to one three month study conducted by Brooke Institute and published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the conclusion is the benefits of medical scribes in contributing to the treatment process linger on long after the actual treatment of the patient.
The Brooke Institute study conducted a test in which one set of ED patients were treated with a medical scribe present, gathering all relevant medical information as well as making full use of Health Information Exchange systems, while another group was treated without any such query being made. The results found that the group with a medical scribe using HIE resources received 52% fewer lab tests, and 36% fewer radiology exams or-dered for them, versus the group without any sort of medical query. In other words, more time and money were saved by both patients and doctors on tests. The reason for this was the more comprehensive information ac-quired by medical scribes during the treatment process made it easier for doctors to decide whether extensive testing was truly necessary to evaluate all medical possibilities or not. The medical practitioner, thanks to having information retrieved from the HIE about an individual patient, simply had more relevant information to go on when making a determination about the necessity of certain tests. Those without this information simply couldn’t take the risk of not accounting for unknown factors and therefore required more testing to be sure.
The reason for this gap in information access is due to a few factors. Electronic Health Records, and the HIE systems they integrate with can be slow, unwieldy, and inconvenient to use, especially in a time-sensitive setting such as an emergency department. Many medical practitioners simply don’t have the time or inclination to wrestle with a clunky data management system when the real priority is treating a patient in need. A medical scribe, focused entirely on information collection, retrieval and entry eliminates this lengthy delay from the proceedings.
If you’d like to make sure that your medical information is collected in a timely fashion, and—more importantly—thoroughly checked, documented and entered in the system, then get in touch with us at Proscribe. You’ll find that even once the treatment is over, the value of our staff proves itself in patient welfare as treatment progresses.